The UNPP program of the United Nations recently recognized the Community-based NGO and CSO Partner statuses of the Global Association of Economics Education (GAEE). Founded in 2017, GAEE is a global nonprofit led entirely by students with the mission of “empowering youth generations with economics education, entrepreneurship skills, and financial literacy,” according to the nonprofit’s website. Since 2007, the United Nations began to grant the recognition and partner statuses to some youth-development and student-led organizations, notably the International Association of Students in Economic and Commercial Sciences (AIESEC) – now the most successful and largest youth-run organization in the world.
GAEE has emerged in recent years as a powerful force in the reform of economics education on a global scale, according to Yahoo! Finance. Recently, this 501(c)(3) nonprofit launches an ambitious action plan known as “GAEE’s Silk Road Plan” that “aims to reach 5000+ members across 18 countries by 2021.” Its operations have gathered widespread support of its current 1500-member network and attention from the worldwide media.
A workshop of GAEE in Central Vietnam. Photo: Global Association of Economics Education
Just earlier this week, this nonprofit concluded its month-long program known as the “GAEE’s Southeast Asia Month 2019” with the participation of thousands of scholars, policymakers, educators and students in the Southeast Asian nations. It partnered with various local universities, advocacy groups, and national agencies to realize the goal of “raising awareness of the impacts brought about by the Industry 4.0 and calling for reform of the education system in light of these changes,” according to Hai “DoHa” Nguyen, the organization’s Executive Director. “Southeast Asian nations that heavily depend on cheap labour will face significant challenges posed by the latest technological wave in automation. The education system, therefore, has to adapt timely and comprehensively,” said Nguyen. In Central Vietnam alone, the organization partnered with the Industrial University and the Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations (VUSTA) to host more than 600 students, teachers, and local officials in their programs. This regional movement is described as “one of the most futuristic and innovative educational movements in the ASEAN region” by Mr. Thich Le, the President of the QN provincial chapter of VUSTA.
GAEE’s Home App. Graphic: Global Association of Economics Education
All the month-long programs being held simultaneously in three Southeast Asian nations (the Philippines, Vietnam, and Indonesia) employed multiple approaches, from TOT (Training of Trainers) conferences for local educators, forums for policymakers and scholars, to direct workshops and academic clubs for students, as well as a distant learning model using its revolutionary “GAEE’s Home App” learning platform for mobile devices. But the most striking thing is that all the activities are led entirely by students. Nguyen, the Founder and Executive Director of GAEE, is still a high school senior currently studying in the United States. He founded the organization a couple of years ago and is now recognized as a Member of the Royal Economic Society and the youngest Fellow of the prestigious Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce. Ruffa Manicdao, the Deputy Head of GAEE in the Philippines and the youngest GAEE executive, is only a freshman. “Around 70% of our executive members are high school pupils. The rest are college students,” said Kiara Coleman, the nonprofit’s HR and Volunteer Manager.
Student-led initiatives like the Global Association of Economics Education demonstrate the ability of youth generation to take control of their future and radiate positive social progress to their communities. The global successes of GAEE, along with other pioneering organizations like AIESEC, Rethinking Economics or the historical SDS, are excellent examples for nowadays adolescents to follow. “We might be born too late to explore the Earth, too early to explore the Stars, but just in time to explore the limitless power of our youth,” once commented Nguyen.